The local bureau of the U.S. census is preparing to send out workers to 240,000 Idaho households that didn’t mail in their census questionnaires. Starting on Saturday, May 1, census takers will start in-person visits across the state. The census bureau has hired 3,100 Idahoans to knock on doors and collect demographic information from those who didn’t respond to census mailings. Idaho had a 74 percent mail participation rate for census forms, above the 72 percent national average. The national mail response rate for the census was similar to the 2000 census.
Census officials say it costs the federal government an average of $55 to $60 for every household that needs to be visited. That means the next wave of census collection in Idaho would cost more than $13 million. Nationwide, the overall cost of the follow-up operation is approximately $1.5 billion.
Jan McStay, the assistant regional census manager serving Idaho, wanted to remind people who haven’t filled out the census that it is only 10 questions that she called easy to answer.
Census workers will carry bags and badges identifying themselves, McStay said, and won’t ask anyone for financial information or contributions.
The national census bureau has tried to hire Idaho residents for the 3,100 census jobs, which McStay said for most will last through July, and performed background checks on all census workers.
If census workers get no response when they knock on someone’s front door, they will visit up to three times.
Idaho’s mail-back rate for census forms was higher than all its neighboring states. The city of Meridian, west of Boise, has the highest response rate in the state, at 83 percent, which is tied for 28th among cities with more than 50,000 people.
Census workers will also wear a name tag to identify themselves
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